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Sutherland councillors get behind Dornoch BID

By Caroline McMorran

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Sutherland councillors have indicated their support for a move to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) in Dornoch.

Members of Sutherland County Committee were updated on the progress towards establishing a Dornoch BID at their meeting in Drummuie, Golspie, today.

If a Dornoch BID is established, it will market Dornoch as a year-round destination.
If a Dornoch BID is established, it will market Dornoch as a year-round destination.

A Business Improvement District covers a defined area and involves businesses working together and investing collectively in local projects, services and improvements in their area. The businesses involved are charged a levy.

The Dornoch BID steering group was established in 2022 and a BID coordinator, Paula White, was appointed with the post funded by awards from the Scottish Government, Highland Council, Dornoch Common Good Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.


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Sutherland ward manager Phil Tomalin reported: “Since then, the steering group has defined the BID area as the IV25 postcode area and organised business consultations, surveys and drop-in events.”

He added that Dornoch BID had submitted all the necessary documentation to Highland Council and the Scottish Government on July 31, and it had been reviewed favourably by Scotland’s Improvement Districts, the organisation that supports BIDs across Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

A ballot of local businesses in November will determine whether the BID goes ahead – a majority of local businesses are required to vote in favour. If the ballot is successful, it is proposed to establish the BID at the beginning of March 2024.

Highland Council has a role in relation to BIDs in that it scrutinises the process involved, instructs the ballot of local businesses and undertakes the levy collection – in the case of the Dornoch BID it is anticipated that around £73,150 would be raised annually, which would be used to market Dornoch as a year round location, ensure a welcoming business environment for residents and visitors; provide opportunities for business collaboration; and facilitate access to business support.

The local authority also has the power of veto over a BID proposal.

At today's meeting, councillors noted the proposals for the establishment of a BID in Dornoch and agreed to recommend to the full council at its meeting on September 14 that it should be supported.

BIDs run for five years after which they have to be renewed with another ballot being run to ensure businesses remain in support.

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